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Campaigners march against proposed children's centre closures

PUBLISHED: 19:00 14 September 2019

Protesters march through Woodbridge at the decision to cut children's centres in the county. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

Protesters march through Woodbridge at the decision to cut children's centres in the county. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

RACHEL EDGE

Crowds of concerned parents have voiced their concerns at Suffolk County council's proposed closure of a Woodbridge children's centre.

A large crowd marched through Woodbridge to protest against the closure of children's centres PICTURE: RACHEL EDGEA large crowd marched through Woodbridge to protest against the closure of children's centres PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

The parents' march follows the council's plans to close or transform 13 children's centres into nurseries, with families and opposition politicians concerned about children's futures and impacts on rural communities.

For Woodbridge, this would mean the loss of the Caterpillar Childen's Centre in Woodbridge, prompting protestors to march from Elmhurst Park to the Cumberland Street centre.

Planned by the Conservative-run Suffolk County Council, cabinet members say the plans represent a change in the needs of today and how people communicate.

However, opposition Labour members say the closures could cause devastation for families, who in Suffolk Coastal would be left with just two children's centres.

Children joined in the protest through Woodbridge on Saturday morning  PICTURE: RACHEL EDGEChildren joined in the protest through Woodbridge on Saturday morning PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

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Jack Abbott, Labour's education spokesman at Suffolk County Council, said: "We are absolutely delighted with the turnout for this campaign.

"People were coming out of their shops and houses to applaud and cheer us on.

"These services are lifelines for families - we ask for everyone who appreciates their value to come together and stand up - this is only one of 13 children's centres set to close. This will not be our last event."

Children's centre protest in Woodbridge PICTURE: RACHEL EDGEChildren's centre protest in Woodbridge PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

Organiser Jeremy Hawksley added: "The services children's centres provide are essential for families on an average or lower than average income.

"We want to raise as much awareness as possible for this totally unnecessary procedure.

"It doesn't just affect Woodbridge - this is the whole of Suffolk we are talking about."

Speaking previously about the need for restructures, Gordon Jones from Suffolk County Council said: "Buildings don't deliver services, it's the people who do. It's really to target those families who really need our services, and trying to get early intervention because we all know the sooner you address a problem the better the outcomes."

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